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Cocktails with Cole Porter
"Cocktails with Cole Porter"
Various Artist
Ultra-Lounge, Capitol Records

     When asked, I will be the first one to sing the praises of Capitol's Ultra-Lounge collection. They have done an amazing job at capturing the swing and swagger of the 1950 and 60's lounge music. Each disc was built upon a theme like Mondo Exotica, TV Town, and Saxophobia, just to name a few. Since Capitol was home to some of the best artists of that era, the producers of the Ultra-Lounge collection had a vast catalogue of material to choose from. It's safe to save that without Ultra-Lounge, the lounge music revival of a few years ago wouldn't have been as strong. In fact, The Bachelor Pad Radio Show may have never gotten off the ground if it wasn't for Ultra-Lounge. It is the foundation on which the radio show's library is built on.
     Now, no one will argue Ultra-Lounge has lost a bit of steam in the last few years. Most of the original producer have left to do other projects. Capitol Record's attentions have gone elsewhere. For the most part, the Ultra-Lounge label has been left to wither on the vine, but every year or so we manage to get a new collection from them. In 2003, it was Vegas Baby! featuring some great gems from the golden age of Sin City. This time around, Ultra-Lounge has tapped in the recent Cole Porter craze and pulled together what they could find for Cocktails with Cole Porter.
     Whereas past collections were sharp and wonderfully surprising with their song selections, the tracks choices on Cocktails with Cole Porter are uninspired. They keep returning to the same artist throughout the album--Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, Kay Starr, and Ella Fitzgerald. In fact, the inclusion of Steve Lawrence's version of "Night and Day" is surprising since it was also featured on the previous collection Vegas Baby! There are some songs on this disc that seems out for place. Judy Garland rendition of "I Happen to Like New York" brings the collection to a screeching halt. And the inclusion of her daughter, Liza Minnelli, just doesn't fit since she made her career decades after most of the other artists on the collection.
     This album is not without a few gems. Louis Armstrong brings out a lot of Porter's posh playfulness with "High Society Calypso" and the Peggy Lee/George Shearing collaboration on "Always True To You In My Fashion" really swings.
     If someone really wants great versions of Cole Porter tunes, search them out throughout the rest of the Ultra-Lounge CD's. They're not hard to find.

     Here are a few audio samples:  Nat King Cole "Just One of Those Things," Ella Fitzgerald "It's De-Lovely," Dean Martin "True Love," and Tony Bennett & Count Basie "Anything Goes."

Buy this album from

Other Ultra-Lounge stuff available from Amazon.com

Vegas Baby!
Click to buy: Mondo Exotica
Mondo Exotica
Click to buy: On The Rocks (Part One)
On The Rocks (Part One)
Wild, Cool, and Swingin
Wild, Cool, and Swingin'

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